No family is perfect, and mine no exception. But being home this past weekend in the house where I grew up surrounded by the ones with whom I've spent the majority of my life so far--my mom, dad, sister and 2/3 brothers (missed you John!)--all was as it should be.
I remember growing up with this pressure that I somehow had to protect my family and not let anyone know that we weren't flawless (gasp! i know). But being human and living together, of course, ensured that things were going to be pretty askew much of the time. People were going to go underappreciated, hurtful things were going to get said and we were going to fall short as siblings, as daughters and sons, as mother and father, as husband and wife.
But we keep making it through. And despite the times things went wrong, I still returned home this weekend feeling like everything was right.
I spent time with my mom in the kitchen as she prepared an amazing Thanksgiving dinner and realized that for my entire life she completed this task all by herself, over and over and over; I felt deeply grateful.
I smelled the clean air outside and marveled at the serene, beautiful, natural setting I was able to grow up in, surrounded by woods and fields; I felt free.
I took a shower and felt the familiar, silky well water, even recognized its steamy scent; I felt new.
I took in the light pouring through the dining room windows over our big oak table set with my grandmother's wedding china (used only for special occasions, of course); I felt beauty.
It was really special. I cherish the times we've had together as a family. In all our craziness and whatever happens I know we'll still be that. I was moved to tears by the way one author put it to words in her book I'm reading currently:
"I understand all of the sudden that my family is like this old sweater--it keeps unraveling, but then someone figures out how to sew it up one more time; it has lumps and then it unravels again,
but you can still wear it; and it still keeps away the chill."
-Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies